In 1921, the Constructivists announced the end of painting. To mark its passing they held the exhibition ‘5 x 5 = 25’ and declared that they would now only make art for everyday life; Productivism. The Tate has devoted a room to this last exhibition of painting, the highlight of which has to be Rodchenko’s ‘Pure Red Colour, Pure Yellow Colour, Pure Blue Colour’ (1921).
2009 is officially “The Year of Astronomy,” commemorating Galilei’s first observation of the Moon through his telescope in November of 1609. Born in Pisa, Galileo Galilei worked in Florence, where the fourth centennial of his discovery is being celebrated with a stunning and sophisticated exhibition which took four years to prepare.
Nevertheless, in my personal library there are 130 books on Pompeii. Of all these, this is the one I would choose to read first.
Tooker’s paintings are questions not answers. The drama takes place away from the picture plain, as viewers grapple with the implications of what they see before them.
No less than the American financier who donates a museum wing on condition it bears his name, or the merchandiser who endows a university institute named for him, the results of Renaissance patronage had to be, first of all, highly visible.
Writers of the caliber of Anton Chekov, Alexsander Blok and Anna Akhmatova, visionary artists like Mikhail Vrubel, Leon Bakst and Kazimir Malevich and inspired patrons like Diaghilev were matched by counterparts in music, architecture, the social sciences and Russia’s burgeoning Industrial Revolution. Composer Igor Stravinsky, the aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky, dancer Vaslav Nijinksy and a host of others formed a constellation of talent worthy of comparison to the leading lights of Florence in the age of Lorenzo de Medici.
“There are a handful of original wildlife artists and the rest are members of the ‘elk in the meadow’ or ‘moose in the water’ schools. We are all influenced by society and by history, but you have to take those examples, put them through your own filter and make them your own.”
Duane Michals expressed it well when he said, “Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be.” An inner life is uncovered in the nature of x-ray photography and in the nature of the subjects.
A famous double portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds shows members of the Dilettanti Society sipping away while making rude gestures about vaginas while holding up gemstones from classical antiquity and admiring painted Greco-Roman vases.
Kubin had something quite different in mind: with his hallucinatory incantations he was seeking to disturb the viewer; he felt driven to solve the riddle of humankind and creation in a spellbinding act.
Posters are visual illustrations of the slogans that surround the people of North Korea constantly. North Korean society is in a permanent mobilization. Party and government declarations are stripped down to single-line catchphrases. Through their endless repetition in banners, newspaper headlines, and media reports, these compact slogans become self-explanatory, simultaneously interpreting and constructing reality.
Art critics may speculate about the influences on Kahlo’s style or her place in modern art. In the end, these reflections, however valid some of the details may be, diminish Kahlo’s achievement. The truth of Frida Kahlo’s life is startlingly simple. She recorded the realty of her life without flinching, creating for herself a world that conformed to her insights and her experience. And in the process, Frida Kahlo’s art became Frida Kahlo’s life.
A photographic essay: The Rock Posters of Rich Black.
Nature in the form of searing sunlight and raging storms increasingly blotted out the works of man in the later paintings of Turner. This was an ironic juxtaposition of his painterly vision with the spirit of his times. For the progressive spirit of early Victorian Britain was propagating a world view whereby the industrial juggernaut of railroads, steam ships and factories would reshape the world to suit humankind’s fancy.
A favourite theme which recurred again and again in wall paintings was the satyr creeping up behind a nymph to catch her by surprise. In at least one case the nymph, her veil ripped away, turns out to be a hermaphrodite, to the satyr’s theatrical dismay, and the observer’s amusement. Some wall paintings showed homosexual sex and, because African motifs were popular, another depicted picnicking pygmies enjoying a group orgy under a tent.